Springsteen Snags TM Apology

A Springsteen ticket snafu in New Jersey that caused numerous fans to receive error messages and redirects during the Ticketmaster onsale Feb. 2 has resulted in the ultimate mea culpa: a public apology from Ticketmaster Entertainment CEO Irving Azoff.

Fans looking to purchase tickets for The Boss’ May 21 and May 23 shows at the Izod Center faced numerous problems.
While some fans who were in the purchase process and had already given credit card information for their allocated tickets received an error message, “100 percent of those people have tickets,” Ticketmaster spokesman Albert Lopez told Pollstar.

We have been in contact with that group of fans by e-mail and by phone, and that group of fans has received tickets.”
However, he explained that much of the hullabaloo surrounding the onsale came from two other groups of fans – those who received error messages from the outset and kept retrying their searches and those who logged in and found no tickets were available in the price tiers sought.

These groups of fans were offered the option to link to TM’s secondary ticketing site, TicketsNow, where tickets were available, often at many times the original face value of the tickets.

Patrons complained they were being automatically redirected to TicketsNow, learning afterward that primary tickets were still available. That set some people off and at press time the state’s Division for Consumer Affairs reportedly logged more than 250 complaints.

“Consumers are questioning what transpired and if they had an equal opportunity to purchase these concert tickets. We share these concerns and are investigating this matter,” N.J. Attorney General Anne Milgram said.

Springsteen and his team got into the mix Feb. 4, posting a letter on his Web site that they were “furious” about Ticketmaster redirecting fans to the secondary site. Manager Jon Landau signed the letter, too, adding considerable weight to the allegations.

“We perceive this as a pure conflict of interest,” they wrote. “Ticketmaster is there to ensure that we have a good, fair sale of our tickets at their face value plus normal ticketing charges.

“TicketsNow is supposed to be a secondary site where people who already have tickets may exchange, trade, and, unfortunately, speculate with them. We have asked this redirection from Ticketmaster to TicketsNow cease and desist immediately and Ticketmaster has agreed to do so in the future and has removed its unwanted material from their and our site.”

Azoff promptly followed up with a letter of his own.

“While we were genuinely trying to do the right thing for fans in providing more choices when the tickets they requested from the primary on-sale were not available, we clearly missed the mark,” Azoff wrote. “We have committed to Bruce and state publicly here that we have taken down all links for Bruce’s shows directing fans from Ticketmaster to TicketsNow.

“This redirection only occurred as a choice when we could not satisfy fans’ specific search request for primary ticket inventory, but to make sure there is no misunderstanding in the future, we also publicly state that we will never again link to TicketsNow in a manner that can possibly create any confusion during a high-demand on-sale.”

Fans who inadvertently purchased tickets from TicketsNow, mistakenly believing they were purchasing from the initial onsale, have been offered a refund of the difference between the purchase price and the face value of the ticket.